Police in Utah say they responded to a physical altercation last month between a New York woman and her fiancé while they were on a cross-country road trip — an alleged incident that occurred less than a month before her family reported her missing.
A responding officer wrote Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, 22, slapped Brian Laundrie after an argument, according to a report from the Moab City Police Department released Wednesday. But both her and Laundrie told the officer neither wanted to press charges and they love each other.
The incident occurred in the afternoon of Aug. 12, according to the report. Petito’s family say they lost contact with her in late August and reported her missing on Saturday. Laundrie is now a person of interest in the investigation into her disappearance, police confirmed on Wednesday.
Representatives for the families of both Petito and Laundrie did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment on the Utah police report.
The responding officer to the Aug. 12 incident spoke with Petito, Laundrie and a witness, whose name was partially redacted in the report, the report said.
“All three individuals gave me a similar and consistent story, consisting of the basic idea that the driver of the van, a male, had some sort of argument with the female, Gabbie, as I recall,” the report says.
“The male tried to create distance by telling Gabbie to take a walk and calm down. She didn’t want to be separated from the male, and began slapping him. He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van.”
The incident appeared to be more a mental and emotional “break” than a domestic incident, police said.
“No one reported that the male struck the female, both the male and the female reported they are in love and engaged and to be married and desperately didn’t wish to see anyone charged with a crime,” according to the report. “There were no significant injures reported and both agreed that Gabbie suffers from serious anxiety.”
The couple agreed to separate for the night and no charges were filed, the report said.
The Moab City police officer wrote that when he arrived on scene, near the Moonflower Co-op, he was looking for a white Ford Transit van, which was later stopped by another officer near the entrance of the Arches National Park. While on scene, the Moab officer said there were also two park officers there, the report said.
The revelation that police in Utah encountered Petito, of Blue Point, Long Island, before she went missing comes as authorities continue to look for her and piece together her whereabouts. Petito was last known to be in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in late August when she stopped communicating with her family, police said.
The couple had been documenting their travels in the white 2012 Ford Transit van on YouTube under the monikers Nomadic Statik and Van Life. That van, with Florida plates, and Laundrie eventually got back to the city of North Port, south of Tampa, but without the woman, police said.
According to police, Laundrie has “not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators” and has “not provided any helpful details.” He has been named a person of interest by North Port police. The FBI is assisting in the investigation.